My good friend and confidante

Thank you for reading my book so far, and for your helpful comments and evaluations.

“There is no good writing, only good rewriting.” That is a quote from every writing teacher who ever red-penciled a first draft. I am in the rewriting, and “re-rewriting” phase of this enjoyable project. I won’t impose on your inbox with things that are only slightly different from what I sent you before. But when I make substantive changes, I would appreciate your feedback. This is one such. I redid the introduction and first few pages. At your convenience, would you mind rating this on our familiar 5 point scale, 5 being “breathtaking” and 1 being “Boooring” Also, any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks again for the privilege of sharing this experience with you.


Live Long,* Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot

* in perspective

Purpose of this book


Do you believe that? I didn’t think so. Who believes advertising anymore? Technically I suppose this book could save your life if you had it in your pocket over your heart and somebody shot you in that spot. It would probably have to be a low caliber gun from a distance however because the book is not that thick. This is by design. I’m guessing you, like most people I know are busy, so a modestly sized book with short chapters is more compatible with the time you have to spare for reading. However, if you feel you may be in somebody’s gun sights some time you may want to buy several copies of this book and hold them in front of you at the appropriate moment.

In this modest volume are memories of a small town kid who realized too late that life is supposed to be hard and dreary. By the time he found out, he had already enjoyed more great times than a boy of his means and abilities should expect.

How did that happen? Among other things, he developed a formula, simple but powerful. The triple double L approach to a happy and successful life. The double L’s are, “Live long*, Learn a little, and Laugh a Lot.

* In perspective

That boy happened to be me.

But back to Saving your life and others!!! You and I know that in advertising it’s important to read the fine print. Here is the pitch with the fine print included.

(From being forgotten)

I believe your life, and every person’s life is worthy of a book. There is much heroism, courage, generosity, love, and virtue that either goes unnoticed or is forgotten. It is a good thing to pass on our life experiences and wisdom to those around us, and those who come after us. And, as my friends and I used to tell each other growing up, “Everybody’s life has purpose. Even the worst of us can serve as horrible examples.”

But most of us need a little nudge (or a big shove) to get our stories down on paper. My experience and observation is that two big hurdles are organization and motivation. I would like to help. I’m thinking if you and I could hang out for a while, we would be swapping stories, and saying, at least in our minds, “That reminds me of the time…”

This book is the hangout. I’m doing the yarn spinning here, but I’m anticipating that at the end of each segment you will fill in the blank space with notes about your own memories. I’ve also included questions I might ask you if we were sitting on the back porch, or on a break from work around the water cooler, or driving a long stretch of monotonous road with time to kill.

My intent is that you will enjoy our time here together, and at the end of the book you will have a desire plus notes and memory joggers to string together your own book.

And if it works for you, you might want to send a copy to your adventurous Uncle Alvin whose exploits are legendary, but unfortunately legends fade away. Or your sweet grandma who is a model of fine character, but is too modest to tell how she got that way.

So may I invite you to flip through a few pages here, pick out a chapter or two, see if you enjoy it, and more importantly what does it jog in your memory?


To my first wife, Diane who has passed away, and my second wife Sharon, who hasn’t.


Thanks to the Hiatt children; Daniel, Robert, Joseph, David, John, Matthew, Angela (Griffiths), Callie (McKay), Samuel, Benjamin, Kathryn (Morgan), Thomas, Joshua, Lucy (Robertson) and Maren (Costa), who have granted me the privilege of being their father.

Thanks to; Dick Davis and Denis Sorenson, (The other two of The Three D’s) Chris Poulos (The Three D’s manager who kept food on the table and roof over the heads of us and our families), Karl and Jerry Engemann, Reed Jones, (High school principle who gave me one of the most painful and most valuable lessons in my life) Jane Thompson, Arch Williams, Truman G. Madsen, Stephen R. Covey, Stanley Peterson, Dale Carnegie, Porter Rockwell, Abraham Lincoln, and you people who have allowed me to perform and write for you over the years.


Live Long,* Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot 1

Purpose of this book. 2

Dedication. 4

Acknowledgments. 4

Preface. 6

Live Long*. 7

Learn a little. 7

Laugh a lot 7

Thank you. 7

Glossary of terms. 7

Time Line (as I remember it) 11

Maps 14

The High Gate. 17

My grandfather’s hectic home. 19

Dad as Abraham Lincoln. 21

The golden voice wins the gold. 22

The Wride side. 24

Hereditary health conditions. 27

Growing up. 28

Being born and childhood home. 28

The world’s greatest playground. 31

Beware of Big Swede. 35

My Father’s footsteps. 37

Traveling Light 40

I want to do that someday. 42

There is a war on. 43

My Mother taught me. 46

School of hard rocks (and puncture weeds) 49

Learning how to not dance. 51

Radio TV Movies. 54

Payson First ward. 55

Pining for the Boy Scouts. 56

The agony and ecstasy of athletics. 58

The Saga of the gooseberry rewrite. 60

Kaniksu and my brother Gordon. 63

Party Guy. 66

The principal of the thing. 68

Music. 70

The trumpet gives a certain sound. 70

Audacious audition. 73

Joy from a jumping flea. 74

My faithful long time friend. 77

The bachelor years. 79

The improbable dream.. 79

A Palangi in Tonga. 84

College education. 88

Associated Press correspondent 89

Father of fifteen. 90

Shouting of the Spirit 90

Memorable wedding. 94

Our “Lego ®” Home. 96

Family Calamities. 99

Meanwhile back at the ranch. 101

Did you ever misplace a child?. 103

Oh well 105

Helping Freedom Ring. 107

The Three D’s, wandering minstrels. 108

What’s in a name?. 110

Proper perspective. 111

Identical individualists doing their own thing together 112

Pioneers versus insects. 115

“Three” and The Three D’s. 116

Blue bus blues. 117

Songs and scenes in the theaters of the mind. 121

Glory, Glory Hallelujah. 123

Writing for presidents of The United States. 125

The Association of Lincoln Presenters. 126

How Lincoln changed my life. 126

Twenty-six years, 17 pregnancies, 15 children. 127

Overcoming Personal Loss. 130

Follow the Prophet 133

Hi, I’m Sharon. 136

What kind of woman marries 15 children? (16 including me some times) 138

Good walls make good families. 140

Live as long as you can. 142

Silence is golden, or poison. 144

There is a “there” in Oakland. 147

My pleasure to present 149

Mirrors to windows. 151

Music has charms. 155

The incredible thinking machine. 156

Chicken Power 158

Enjoy the Journey. 160

The messages we send. 161

Not funny. 162

Funny. 162

Help ’em laugh. 163

Elwin’s hint of a smile. 164

Core Values. 164

In Summary: “Live Long*, Learn a Little, and Laugh a Lot.”. 165


“Titles are hard to come by. For one thing, all the good ones have been taken; like Thinner Thighs in Thirty Days, and The Bible”
Dave Barry

Searching for a title, I wrestled with ideas and language, and came out with three thoughts (three thoughts is a pretty fair accomplishment for me), and six words that started with “L”. They represented what I have tried, and am trying to do with my life.

Looking at the title again, I decided the “Long” needed an asterisk (the asterisk, as you know, is the ancestor of the Hyperlink) so I added one.

Live Long*

*Not long in years necessarily, but long in perspective. Number of years is not an accurate gauge of success. The most important life in the history of the world only lasted 33 years. Planning, managing, and executing a successful life is like succeeding in a career. In a couple of decades, we can have twenty years’ experience on the job, or one year’s experience twenty times.

The difference often lies in our perspective. Generally speaking, the farther ahead we look the better our life plans and performance are. The really successful people stretch their perspective even beyond the veil we call death, and ask themselves, “How can I prepare myself for eternity in heaven?”

When we organize and pursue this endless perspective, our lives are successful no matter how many years we do or don’t accumulate.

Learn a little

Sir Isaac Newton, considered by some the greatest scientific mind in history said, “What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.”
We won’t get too far swallowing the ocean with the teaspoon of our mind, but we can enjoy the process of learning, and our lives and those we touch will be richer for it.

Laugh a lot

It takes two muscles to smile, 200 to frown so I read. Laughter helps digestion, and releases in our brain a legal drug named dopamine which helps us relax and lowers our stress. A hearty laugh even tones the muscles. So avoid facial muscle fatigue, digest, relax, and tone up with a good laugh, or at least a smile.

Thank you

Thanks for opening the book. Reading this far makes you an honorary member of the Triple Double L Club. Welcome fellow pilgrim.